I found it very interesting talking to Racheal, going over all Jack's medical history etc. Although we had spoken before about Jack at the recent seminar I attended she went back over everything since the day I brought him, she was very thorough asking about saddle fitter, dentist, farrier etc as well as medical history.
Following a full account of Jacks problems, current and past, (which took a while!) and lots of questions from Racheal so she could gain a complete understanding of where we are with his work she then assessed Jacks conformation from all angles looking for asymmetry then Rachael asked me to walk and trot Jack up in hand in the menage.
After seeing him walk and trot up Rachael then checked Jack over and identified his muscles were tight in his neck, chest and shoulders and he had some soreness behind the saddle and over his pelvis, he also had pelvic rotation which may have been the cause.
She then explained that due to his hock arthritis and fore limb issues she was unable to carry out any work which might affect these areas but she could massage and stretch his neck, shoulders, back and realign his pelvis to help him be more comfortable and better able to use his body correctly in his work which will help prevent further issues hopefully. She explained what she had found and what she could do to help him. It was really interesting watching her work to relax and stretch his neck muscles. I've always found he tilts his head a bit especially to the left and I also find him much stiffer to the left. I'd never given it much thought but Jack does have a bit of a lump from an old injury (prior to me owning him) at the base of his neck on the right hand side. This has been checked by our vet and found to be just scar tissue left over from an old injury and nothing to worry about but as scar tissue is less flexible then healthy muscle tissue it may well be making him a little stiffer and unable to stretch the right side of his neck as comfortably so Rachael worked hard to help soften up and stretch all his tight and sore bits. Following her working on him Jack was clearly a lot more comfortable, looked much softer over his back and was standing square behind!
I then showed Rachael how I do Jack's carrot stretches and she identified he was tilting his head too much and not stretching as well as he should so she helped me with ways to do them so he stretches more effectively. She also gave us some new stretches to do everyday.
These include foreleg stretches forward, across, out and back to help relieve any tension in his shoulder and base of his neck. As she did them with him the first time he was sighing and yawning away and seemed to find it all very tiring!
Upon completion of the treatment Rachael wrote out and talked me through what work to do with Jack for the next week so we don't undo all her hard work and unless anything changes we will see her again in 3 months time.
I was really impressed that following the treatment Jack's back seemed to have lifted and was visible less dipped. The first time following treatment I rode him he felt amazing and much straighter through his body. In particular his Canter was fantastic yay!
We will continue to use this type of therapy alongside physiotherapy to keep Jack feeling good.
The 31st July will mark 6 years of me owning Jack, we set out 6 years ago with such hope that he would be the horse to take me eventing. Sadly we have only managed 2 events in that time but all being well once he is fully fit we can still achieve that dream.